Thursday, December 08, 2016

Whitmore Back at Oaklawn after Comeback Win in New York

Whitmore returned to the track Wednesday morning at Oaklawn following his comeback victory in an allowance/optional claiming sprint Saturday at Aqueduct. Co-owner/trainer Ron Moquett said Whitmore arrived Tuesday in Hot Springs, adding it’s a “possibility” the 3-year-old Pleasantly Perfect gelding could run again this year. Oaklawn’s live meeting begins Jan. 13.

“We’d like to run here, but we’re looking at some late-year 3-year-old races,” Moquett said Thursday morning.

Whitmore was among the top 3-year-olds at the 2016 Oaklawn meeting, running second in the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) and $900,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) and third in the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1). Following a 19th-place in the Kentucky Derby May 7, Whitmore received a lengthy vacation before returning to the work tab in early October at Churchill Downs.

Moquett said he entered Whitmore in an allowance race during the Churchill Downs fall meet that ended Nov. 27, but it didn’t go.

Whitmore was then sent to New York with 2-year-old stablemates Petrov and Zip Van Winkle. Zip Van Winkle finished fourth in his career debut last Thursday. Petrov ran second, beaten a head, in Friday’s $100,000 King’s Swan Stakes, his second lifetime start.

Moquett said Whitmore represented his first winner at Aqueduct.

“Goofy trainers always have a plan, and they have a backup,” said Moquett, third in Oaklawn’s trainer standings in 2016. “That was like Plan C. But it worked out great that I had another couple of horses going up there for the weekend.”

Whitmore, who was ridden by Manny Franco, finished 1 ½ lengths ahead of Oaklawn-raced Will Did It after having to wait for running room approaching the quarter pole. He covered 6 ½ furlongs over a fast track in 1:18.13.

“It was a great place to start,” Moquett said. “He’d been showing us that he wanted to run.”

Saturday’s victory was the third in as many starts sprinting for Whitmore. He won his career debut sprinting at Churchill Downs and was an allowance/optional claiming winner sprinting at Oaklawn in his 3-year-old debut. He is 0 for 5 around two turns.

Moquett said in “fairness” to Whitmore, there wasn’t a Cupid in the maiden race or a Suddenbreakingnews in the first-level allowance/optional claimer.

“I think the competition has more to do with that than distance,” Moquett said of Whitmore’s winless record around two turns.

Whitmore finished second to Suddenbreakingnews in the Southwest and second to Cupid in the Rebel. Both races were 1 1/16 miles.

Back in Action

Multiple stakes winner Terra Promessa, the top 3-year-old filly at the 2016 Oaklawn meeting, is scheduled to make her comeback in the $100,000 She’s All In Handicap Sunday at Remington Park.

Trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, who has topped the Oaklawn standings seven times since 2007, Terra Promessa hasn’t started since finishing 10th in the $1 million Kentucky Oaks (G1) May 6 at Churchill Downs. She had won her previous four starts, including three at Oaklawn.

After winning a Feb. 5 allowance race, Terra Promessa captured the $200,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) March 12 and $400,000 Fantasy Stakes (G3) April 9.

In the mile and 70-yard She’s All In, Terra Promessa is scheduled to break from post 6 under Richard Eramia and carry top weight of 120 pounds. Listed at 3-1 on the morning line, she will be facing older horses for the first time Sunday.

Probable post time for the She’s All In is 7:17 p.m. (Central).

Finish Lines

Street Strategy, unraced since winning the $100,000 Fifth Season Stakes Jan. 16 at Oaklawn (leg injury), worked a half-mile in :49.40 over a fast track Wednesday morning at Oaklawn for trainer Randy Morse. ... Oaklawn stakes winner Mallard’s Bro worked 3 furlongs in :36.80 Thursday morning at Oaklawn for trainer Al Cates of Hot Springs. … Oaklawn’s surface was rated fast for workouts Thursday. … Moquett has entered Churchill Downs fall meet maiden winner Torrent in the $100,000 Trapeze Stakes for 2-year-old fillies Sunday at Remington Park. Moquett finished second in the $100,000 King’s Swan Stakes last Friday at Aqueduct with another Churchill Downs fall meet 2-year-old maiden graduate, Petrov. Next-race plans are pending for Petrov, Moquett said Thursday morning. … Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen, jockey Ramon Vazquez and owner Danny Caldwell have clinched meet titles at Remington Park, which closes its 67-day season Sunday. Asmussen has won seven Oaklawn titles since 2007. Vazquez was Oaklawn’s second-leading rider in 2015 and 2016. Caldwell is completing his third consecutive personal Triple Crown (leading owner at his annual circuit of Oaklawn, Prairie Meadows and Remington Park).

 

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